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Victoria Police reveal that massage shops illegally offering sexually services are prevalent throughout Melbourne and Victoria. While being serious about cracking down on these disguised massage shops, the police say they are more concerned about the welfare of the vulnerable people working in these places than enforcing moral values on anyone. According to Project Respect, a not-for-profit organisation providing support for women in the sex industry and women trafficked for sexual exploitation, there are around illegal brothels in Melbourne.
Read the full online investigation here:. Even though the staff in such businesses come from a wide range of countries, people from South East Asia are heavily represented in those shops. But the real issues underneath can range from public health issues relating to STIs, to the lack of appropriate safety standards for workers at illegal brothels, and exploitation of workers.
As part of the process when receiving a complaint or information that sexual services are provided at a massage shop, the police will go there and explain to massage shop staff that sexual services are not allowed.
An objective of the awareness campaign is also to build up trust between the police and people in the massage industry. Sergeant Farrelly explains that for many of these employees, their homeland experiences with the authorities may have already made them wary of police.
In addition, the police search online adult forums and advertisements to gather more information about disguised massage shops. Once a thorough investigation is done and there is enough information indicating a massage shop is providing sexual services, the police will get a search warrant. That particular offence targets the exploitation of the vulnerable people that work there.